Tuesday, May 29, 2007

In Memory...

This past Saturday I lost a very close friend of mine. Kimberly Delgado, or KimmieD (Kimmie-D) as we called her.

Back in November/December she started complaining about some minor pains she was having. No one, including her, really thought much of it. KimmieD was overweight, so we all assumed it was a weight issue... she did as well. After a month, or two, of the pains increasing we finally convinced her to see a doctor. She did. The doctor told her that she had irritable digestive/bowl issues and quickly assigned medication.

March came around, and KimmieD had a big birthday bash planned for me at one of my favorite hot spots... BW3s. Even though she KNEW I didn't want anything for my birthday, she simply wouldn't be held back. Some of my best friends were there... so I'm glad she pulled it all together. She also coordinated a couple parties for other friends of mine, most of which were heavy with church folk... even though she wasn't associated with the church. She just loved helping out, and we all appreciated it. She always had a bright smile and was a blast to be around. Everyone loved her.

Still, through all her efforts to take care of everyone else she still seemed to be in pain. By the time March 13 (my birthday) came around she was hauling around an ice pack for her lower back. That next Saturday evening, March 17, was KimmieD's birthday. We had a LOT of people there and we ate dinner at a Greek restaurant and even got her to get up and dance with some of the belly dancers/performers. It was great. We then headed off to Wild West for some good old fashioned dancing. I spent at least an hour dancing with her, and many others (as I seem to be one of the few guys that doesn't mind looking like a fool because I'm not the best dancer in the world). She said it was her best birthday ever.

On Monday, April 9, I received a call from her. It was the Last Day of Unleavened Bread, and some of us were heading into a Mexican restaurant for lunch in between services when I got the call. She said that she finally went to see another doctor, and they ran some tests and thought there was a possibility that she might have cancer, but they were not sure until other tests could be run. A week, or so, later she came over to my house and told me that it was, in fact, cancer. We talked about it and I assured her that everything would be okay, as what she described wasn't all that bad -- as far as cancer goes. I knew several people who had the very same thing and are perfectly fine now. Neither one of us realized that is was much worse than she was originally told. Also, KimmieD didn't like for people to worry about her... so she usually didn't give out any details unless she had to, or it was definite.

The following weeks were quiet about any other news, as I was busy flying around the world, and KimmieD was distracted with becoming an Aunt, as her younger sister was having her first baby. :) A couple weeks later and KimmieD was an Aunt -- a VERY happy Aunt.

I flew off to the UK and then to Herndon, VA, and then back home. I didn't get to see much of KimmieD, as she was classified as 'working from home'... so we really only communicated through eMail, chat applications, or phone calls. She had chemotherapy sessions scheduled and all looked as though it was going to be good. She stayed at her parent's home in Conroe, Texas (just north of The Woodlands, where I live). She would venture out to the hospital here and there, and I kept hearing that she was always a few days away from going back to her own apartment. Ultimately, that never happened.

Her parents (father and step mother) were always with her. Her biological mother, who I had the opportunity to meet a year and a half ago, flew in right before mother's day. Not the best of circumstances, but at least they were all together on that day. At this point, I was starting to get a bit worried... because she never moved back into her own apartment, and all the updates I received started sounding the same -- like they were 'recorded'. It was at this point that I thought KimmieD might not be giving everyone the whole story because she didn't want them to worry about her.

She really only had one chemo session... after that she kept having complications or was too ill to have further treatments. I didn't realize it, but by this time she was already at Stage 4 of cancer.

I left for San Francisco on May 20. I didn't realize it at the time, but just two days prior to that KimmieD had gone in for another hospital visit and was told by the doctors that there was nothing further they could do for her. KimmieD was only semi-responsive to my eMails or TXT messages, and almost never answered her cell phone, so I had to rely on updates from another friend. I was told that KimmieD sounded in good spirits, considering, on that Friday, May 18. By the time Monday hit she was in bed and sleeping and in pain... and she could no longer hold a conversation. All that, in just three short days. I got a call from House (Deanna House), one of KimmieD's oldest friends. She was in tears and filled me in on how serious the situation was. NO ONE could believe what they were hearing -- everyone believed the same thing... that KimmieD would get treated, get better, and life would go on. It was a shock, to say the least, to hear the words, "the doctors told her there is nothing more they can do for her." Her parents were told she would have about two weeks to live.

I arrived back home on Wednesday, May 23. By this time KimmieD was sleeping almost all the time and her parents had to wake her up simply to use the restroom. Conversations with her were questionable, at best. A couple times she was coherent... most of the time she was too drugged up to be able to communicate. She was also hallucinating and would often see people or "angels" at her side. By this time hospice had already moved in and were doing what they do best -- try to make you as comfortable as possible... the only way they know how. Drugs.

By Saturday morning KimmieD's breathing was extremely labored and her heart was racing. At 4:30 pm that evening she passed away.

She was a wonderful person, and will always be remembered well by those that loved her, especially me. It will be a great thing to see her once again, which is always a great comfort.